First ever scape - New beginnings

Ruskie

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So, as the title says, this will be my first ever venture into the world of aquascaping. I’m sure there will be many trials and tribulations along the way so why not document them here!
I’m hoping that with the help of the knowledgeable folk around here there will be more successes than failures, I guess time will tell!
 

Ruskie

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So after weeks of research I have assembled the list of equipment shown below. I’m hopeful this will get me off to a decent start but I’m aware as a newbie I may have made some rookie mistakes, feel free to point them out. I’ve noted below where I feel I may have possibly gone wrong.

The aim is start slowly with a relatively low tech, easy plant, lowish maintenance tank. The goal being to achieve a clean, healthy, decent looking tank to prove to myself that this is achievable.

Tank- 45L 50x30x30cm
Oase Filtersmart Thermo 100
Aqual Leddy Smart 2 Plant 6W LED Light (enough for this size tank/low light setup?)
13mm glass inflow/outflow pipes (outflow pipe is the spin outflow type, I now wonder if this will be sufficient?)

Tropica aquarium soil 3kg
Tropica aquarium soil powder 3kg
Tropica nutrition capsules
Tropica specialised nutrition

Seachem Matrix (to replace the stuff supplied with the Oase filter)
Seachem stability
API Stress coat+ (Maybe Seachem Prime to treat water instead?)

Dragonstone
Redmoor wood

Plants- TBD once I’m happy with the hardscape. I do have a list though which I will run past you guys.

Please feel free to comment and suggest anything you feel I’ve made an error on or indeed anything I’m missing :thumbup:
 

Ruskie

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Spent a bit of time messing with the hardscape earlier. It’s become apparent that as well as having to learn about keeping a tank and growing plants I also need to learn the art of aquatic photography so forgive the poor photos :lol:

I’ve tried to use the golden ratio and I was aiming for a triangular composition. Any comments good or bad are most welcome!

1)
E4C2EEF7-9304-4F08-9B5D-4E30281B5B01.jpeg

2)
1291913E-7EFA-4AF5-8D58-92E238F4F814.jpeg

3)
D2AF81B8-21FF-4E9F-89BD-916E14619CC9.jpeg

4)
A6378BD1-3028-4D73-9D96-ECEE64BDE309.jpeg

I still have the 3kg bag of soil powder to add but I’m already thinking that alone may not be enough and I’m going to need more to elevate the rear of the tank more, thoughts?
 
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I really like the second one. Just be mindful of shaded areas and appropriate plants. I recommend drawing on paper your plant layout plan for when it comes to planting. Good luck I’ll follow with anticipation.
 

Jayefc1

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Hi and welcome just one thing I'd go with the oase 250 thermo instead of the bio master more flow and the pre filter is easier to clean out and when you want a bigger tank you already have the filter

I.like 1 or 2
To elevate the back of the tank put some soil in a cut up pair of tights and place where you wont it then the soil wont all fall forward and you can still plant in to it

Or get some lava rock and crush it down sprinkle in and cover with soil also have you thought about how your going to make the hardscape structure stable for maintenance
 
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Claire

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I like number 2 as well! Looks a great start.
With your light I know you’re questioning whether it will be powerful enough, it really depends on light spread front to back and the efficiency of the diodes. If it’s the light in your picture then you may struggle to get enough light for high tech plants on the opposite side of the tank but you should have enough for eg cryptocorynes etc. You don’t have to spend lots of money on lighting - you’ll see a lot of people on the forum using twinstars and other LEDs that cost £100-200, I’m using an unbranded Chinese one which is really thin, sleek and smart and has excellent light spread.
Seachem prime or safe are more expensive but last forever as you will use tiny amounts. Prime is the prediluted version and safe is powder. To be honest you would use such a tiny amount of powder that it may actually be difficult to dose, so prime may be easier.
 

Diogo Sousa

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If that is where you plan to have your light you'll have a hard time growing anything on the left side besides very low light plants.

I'd consider having perhaps a sandy area on the left, maybe with overhanging branches planted with anubias and easy moss? And a few crypts as they really don't need much light at all.

Oh and number 2 wins for me.
 

Tim Harrison

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No. 2 for me as well. it's more in proportion with the dimensions of the tank.
It's like drawing, as a kid I was told to fill the whole of the paper; not to do a little drawing in the corner.
Scaping is exactly the same ;)
 

Deano3

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I agree with tim and jay number 2 looks the best and fills the aquarium the best and i also would go for the oase biomaster 250 as a great filter.

Thanks dean

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Siege

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No2 by far from me also :thumbup:

The filtosmart 100 should be fine with a low tech set up. Biomaster 250 would be better and a must if you decide to go co2 in the future.

I donot think you have enough soil though. 9L would do it, so consider getting more or create a sand area.
You can use your other stones to assist with this. The other benefit of a sand area is that you won’t have to grow a foreground carpet in that area. This you may struggle to get the standard you want without co2.

Hope that helps.
 

Ruskie

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Thanks for all the comments, much appreciated :thumbup:

Light- As I suspected then, the current light is going to be insufficient even for a low tech tank. Looking at some ‘cheaper’ alternatives now. Not sure if I can post links in here but would a full spectrum 12w LED light that spanned the tank be sufficient/more suitable?

Filter- Appreciate the fact that the 250 would be better longer term but having already spent my cash on the 100 I was hoping that would be fine?

Outflow- Nobody has mentioned it so I assume that the spin type I have will provide enough flow? Or is that a case of ‘we’ll see’?

Hardscape- It’s painfully obvious I have a lot to learn :lol: but 2 was the clear winner. I suspect that photo was the only one that did it justice though :). I’m gonna order another bag of substrate as that’s clearly needed and have another play.

Wife as now frowning at me asking why I’m looking at more equipment :nailbiting: :D
 

Deano3

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In this hobby you can make it as cheap or expensive as you want i think the 100 will probably be fine the 250 is just a lot more convenient i think but sure will be fine and you could upgrade in future but it can be an expensive hobby if want all the nice gadgets and best equipment but sometimes is very unnecessary.

Looking forward to seeing updates mate
Dean

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Ruskie

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Had another little play with the hardscape today before leaving it after getting frustrated :banghead:
I’m a bit of a perfectionist and it annoyed me trying to piece something together to get the height I want with the stone I have.

5) A slight variation on the most popular from above. Used a different ‘main’ stone to support the wood.
6675C95E-3AF0-40D6-BFC5-5207F5E1300C.jpeg

6) Tried the wood on the other side. I’m just struggling with how it’s cut. It’s restricting me some what on positioning and I just end up surrounding it with stone to try and hide the cut.
60FAE803-9DC2-440A-9233-8BC61DBC82D6.jpeg
 

Diogo Sousa

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I think 5 has potential, what about tilting the main stone and wood (lifting right side) so it doesn't sit flat and having a play with the vertical stone behind the wood?
 

Ruskie

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It’s amazing what can happen if you step away for a bit and come back with a fresh set of eyes.
Totally different approach this time and I think once the additional substrate I’ve ordered is added this has some potential. I like the different levels and the right side can be elevated even more . The section on the left im not totally convinced about and probably needs tweaking but I like how the branches stretch over the ‘pathway’

3029AC86-AB0C-41FA-890D-837701D4758F.jpeg

EA5B5CC3-6F5D-425D-B490-286480725898.jpeg

CF57031C-85C1-4224-82CD-29413525D1D9.jpeg

Any words of wisdom? Better or am I getting further away?
 
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Diogo Sousa

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I like the canyon idea! And agree that the left side needs some work.

On another note you may want to move everything towards the foreground. Otherwise you'll have little space for background plants and your hardscape will completely disappear after plants are grown in. And simply from a perspective stand point if your foreground is too long it will not look too good. There is a video about it from Jurijs on youtube, very informative.

And by the way, what are you planning to plant on the foreground?
 

Ruskie

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@Diogo Sousa Thanks, I’ll have a look for that video.
I did think about moving it all forward a bit I would just need to trim the wood a little to do that and I didn’t want to start hacking stuff up until I’m confident with the plan. Would you still extend the wall/cliff to the bank of the tank though for that raised area?

Current options for foreground listed below of what I think would work in a low tech tank. I’m definitely open to alternatives tho as I’m not dead set on anything as yet and my research may be bad :D

Marsilea Hirsuta
Lilaeopsis Brasiliensis
Eleocharis Parvula/Mini (May struggle with this?)
Cryptocoryne Parva
 

Diogo Sousa

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I'm not exactly sure what you mean by having the wall against the bank of the tank. IMO just moving it straight forward would work.

I'm still doubtful you'll be able to grow any carpet plants on the left side with just the one light. The plants you can grow on a low tech also depend on how strong your light is. Some plants really don't need much light at all (anubias etc) while others still require quite a bit of light or they just won't grow let alone spread into a carpet. Maybe you can do a DSM with sunlight? Summer is coming ;)

Two more things you may want to think about:
- Rocks on the right side have vertical "ridges" while left are horizontal. Looks a bit artificial.
- Substrate is quite flat, sloping it towards the back is recommended.

And in my opinion having more rocks and wood to play with would help a lot.

Keep experimenting though, that is the recipe to success!
 

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